Machining of Ceramic Components — Approaches to Higher Flexibility and Economy
For many applications in the field of mechanical engineering, designers prefer conventional solutions in spite of the outstanding possibilities they have by using ceramic materials. Economic considerations will often lead to a decision against the ceramic component due to the difficulties in machining of complex contours. The designer’s demand upon the manufacturer to provide a flexible machining process also for small lot sizes and rapid prototyping is justified for ceramic components as well. This gets particularly important under the aspect that up to 80 percent of the component costs are caused by the fine machining process.
This development requires a change of view in the field of production strategies. Especially the question of make or buy and the efforts in the area of near-net-shape processing have to be reviewed critically. Thinking in semifinished products will be an economic alternative due to the technological potentials of the manufacturing processes for hard machining as well as green machining.
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